Salvation Army's racism guide tells White Americans racism is 'systemic' and colorblindness is harmful

The guide also says Christians need to 'evaluate' racist attitudes and practices

A Salvation Army guide aimed at "courageous conversations about racism" asks "White Americans" to "stop trying to be ‘colorblind.’"

The guide, "Let's Talk About Racism," was released in April and created by the Salvation Army International Social Justice Commission. It is meant to provide "internal dialogue" on the issue of racism among members of the Salvation Army.

"While many Salvationists have acted firmly and courageously against racism, The Salvation Army acknowledges with regret, that Salvationists have sometimes shared in the sins of racism and conformed to economic, organizational and social pressures that perpetuate racism," the guide states.

The guide's "introduction" states that Christians need to "evaluate" racist attitudes and practices.


Two volunteers collecting for the Salvation Army in New York City

"There is an urgent need for Christians to evaluate racist attitudes and practices in light of our faith and to live faithfully in today’s world. We need to seek the wisdom and grace of God in every part of our lives," the guide states.

The guide, first reported on the Daily Wire, also asks salvationists to apologize for their racism, stating it is "necessary if we want to move towards racial reconciliation."

Additionally, the guide says "White culture" has challenges it needs to overcome, including "denial of racism," "defensiveness about race," and states that "White Americans" need to "stop trying to be ‘colorblind.’"

"Stop trying to be ‘colorblind,'" the guide states. "While this might sound helpful, it actually ignores the God-given differences we all possess, as well as the beautiful cultures of our Black and Brown brothers and sisters. Instead of trying to be colorblind, try seeing the beauty in our differences, and welcome them into your homes, churches and workplaces."

Under the "resources" section, the guide lists books from authors such as Ibram X. Kendi and Robin DiAngelo.

A giant Salvation Army Red Kettle in celebration of Giving Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020, in New York's Times Square. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

The Salvation Army's website also displays a "Study Guide on Racism" which claims that "racism can be so entrenched in institutions and culture that people can unintentionally and unwittingly perpetuate racial division."

"For instance, devout Christians who naively use racial epithets or a well-intentioned Sunday school curriculum that only uses white photography and imagery," the guide states.


In a statement posted Thursday, the Salvation Army rebuked claims that "the Salvation Army believes America is an inherently racist society."

In this Nov. 15, 2014 file photo, Salvation Army bell ringer Esther Rahenkamp of Avon Park, Fla., greets shoppers at NorthPark Mall in Davenport, Iowa, standing next to a 700-pound donation kettle. (Gary Krambeck/The Dispatch via AP, File)

"Those claims are false, and they distort the very goal of our work," the Salvation Army said. "The truth is that The Salvation Army believes that racism is fundamentally incompatible with Christianity, and we are called to work toward a world where all people are loved, accepted, and valued. Our positional statement on racism makes this clear."


The Salvation Army also responded to criticism of the study guides, claiming that "no one is being told how to think."

"The Salvation Army has occasionally published study guides on various complex topics, including race, to help foster positive conversations and reflection among Salvationists. The hope is that by openly discussing these issues, we can encourage a more thoughtful organization that is better positioned to serve those in need. These guides are solely designed for internal use. No one is being told how to think. Period," the statement says.